Chatham News

Pittsburgh businesses to get “big” advice from women entrepreneurs and executives on “embracing the competition” at Chatham entrepreneurship forum

The Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship to host 7th Annual Think Big Forum on Oct. 19

PITTSBURGH (September 18, 2012) … While competition is no stranger to residents of Pittsburgh at the start of the NFL season, business owners and executives will be given a chance to re-think their strategies for handling tough markets and tougher competitors at the Seventh Annual Think Big Forum, “Embracing the Competition,” hosted by the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University on Friday, October 19, from 8 a.m. to noon.

This half-day forum features keynote speaker Chanda A. Bell, who co-authored the popular children’s book The Elf on the Shelf and co-founded the publishing company Creatively Classic Activities and Books with her mother and twin sister. Eight years later, more than two million copies of The Elf on the Shelf have been sold and the product line is now featured in thousands of retail stores across the United States and Canada. Based in Atlanta, Ga., Bell faces increased competition from seasonally minded competitors and will discuss how she stays one step ahead in her talk, “Santa and His Elves vs. the Competition Grinch.”

Other speakers will include Melinda Emerson, Pittsburgh’s own SmallBizLady and a national blogger for the New York Times, whose talk “How Social Media Can be Your Secret Weapon” will educate small business owners on how to gain a competitive edge using social media. Michele Fabrizi, president and CEO of MARC USA, a national advertising agency headquartered in Pittsburgh and one of the top 10 privately held agencies in the United States, will discuss how smaller companies can compete against industrial pocketbooks with her talk “Formula for Growth: Out-Thinking Your Competitors, Not Out-Spending Them.”

This year’s Think Big Forum also offers a new opportunity for registered participants to have one-on-one conversations with finance experts at the event, using a twenty-minute break to discuss lending, savings, asset protection, or even get a financial work-up of their business.

The cost to attend is $50 ($25 for students with a valid student ID). For more information or to register for this event, visit or call 412-365-1253. Sponsors of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship include PNC Bank, UPS, Metlife, and UPMC Health Plan along with Baierl Automotive. Partners for the Think Big event include Comcast, Red House Communications, and Soul Pitt Media.

About the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship
The mission of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship is to educate, create economic opportunities, and foster entrepreneurial thinking for women entrepreneurs, women in business, and students. CWE provides opportunities for women entrepreneurs in all stages of businesses to start and grow their companies by utilizing Chatham resources, programs, and expertise. CWE programming is also designed to teach regional businesswomen how to think and act entrepreneurially by focusing on innovation and creativity in the workplace. CWE also offers specific programs for both undergraduate and graduate students that help develop the skills needed to become successful businesswomen.

Founded in 2005, CWE has expanded its reach throughout Southwestern PA to help an increasing number of businesswomen learn, network, connect, and achieve their business goals.

Current and initial funding for CWE provided by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. Initial funding for CWE was also provided by the Lois Tack Thompson Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation. For more information about programs offered by CWE call 412-365-1253 or visit

About Chatham University
Chatham University’s historic Shadyside Campus, founded in 1869, is located in the heart of Pittsburgh, Pa. Preparing students from around the world, Chatham’s enrollment throughout the past decade was the fastest growing in the Pittsburgh region.

Consisting of an undergraduate women’s college and graduate and online programs for both men and women, Chatham has consistently been ranked among the top master’s level institutions in the Northeast by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Offering challenging academics and innovative programming in the fields of sustainability and the environment, the health sciences, and business & entrepreneurship, a Chatham education is designed to help students meet the needs of tomorrow’s economy, today.

Chatham has also demonstrated institutional commitments to reach carbon neutrality by 2025 and has been recognized as a leader in sustainability by The Princeton Review, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the League of American Bicyclists, and Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future. For more information, call 800-837-1290 or visit

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